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BeerText: Beer Knowledge Delivered to Your iPhone (Or Even Your Razr)

Here's something every beer lover can appreciate: BeerText, a service that tells you anything you could ever want to know about the beer you're drinking.

It's not an app in the traditional sense -- you don't have to go online, and there's no need to download anything. That means you can even use it on throwback, non-"smart phones," because it works via text messaging, not an internet browser.

BeerText delivers info about a beer directly to your phone. Text anytime, anywhere, because -- unlike your ex -- BeerText will be happy to get your drunk text messages all night, and always responds with the right answer.


The BeerText Story
When I first caught word of BeerText I figured it might come in handy while I was roaming the aisles at Total Wine, or thinking about ordering an unfamiliar beer at the bar.

Luckily, BeerText's creators, Syracuse University students Doug Crescenzi and Ross Lazerowitz, had the same problem. They loved trying new beer, and wanted to design a service that would help them get information about any brew on the go.

Crescenzi, Lazerowitz and fellow student Carter Yagemann designed, developed and programmed BeerText in just 10 hours during a recent Syracuse University "hackathon" -- where computer science brainiacs work in teams to produce new applications that ultimately make our lives better. Although they didn't win the competition, they still submitted their idea to the beer section of Reddit for feedback. Just a few days later BeerText was receiving thousands of queries.

How It Works
So, how does BeerText work? It's all thanks to Twilio, a cloud communication company that allows software developers to make and receive phone calls and/or send and receive text messages. BeerText accesses information compiled by BreweryDB, an online "library" of beer, breweries and beer events used by apps like Beer Friend (an app that helps you estimate your BAC and the number of calories you've consumed from drinking beer) and Beer RAM (a web-based app that lists breweries and beers). Then, Twilio works to take that information and send it directly to your phone: just like that, everything you wanted to know about Harpoon's Leviathan Imperial IPA, in less than 10 seconds.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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